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Mental strength key for Strasbourg

A weakened RC Strasbourg side will be relying on mental strength as they aim to overturn a two-goal UEFA Cup deficit against FC Basel 1893.

Relegation-threatened RC Strasbourg will use their UEFA Cup tie against FC Basel 1893 as a welcome break from Ligue 1 troubles, even if they enter the home leg trailing 2-0.

Rested stars
Zdravko Kuzmanovic's 89th-minute goal in Switzerland last week gives Basel a distinct edge over their French opponents, yet despite the size of their task, Strasbourg will not be selecting their strongest team. Coach Jacky Duguépéroux will rest full-backs Ahmed Abou Moslem and Guillaume Lacour, as well as in-form striker Amara Diané, with one eye on Sunday's crucial league visit to AS Saint-Etienne.

Mental strength
"Once again for a UEFA Cup game, I will have to rely on the mental strength of my side," said Duguépéroux. "My players have been quite unpredictable in this competition and now it's time to prove it again. I know they will give their best to pull off what would be a great achievement, if we were to reach the quarter-finals."

Confidence boost
Basel's main objective at La Meinau stadium will be to remain solid defensively. The first-leg goals from Matías Delgado and Kuzmanovic secured a platform on which to progress to the last eight, and morale was boosted further by a 2-1 victory against Grasshopper-Club.

Basel buoyed
"Sunday's win has given us a lot of confidence and we are optimistic we can advance to the quarter-finals," said defender Bruno Berner. Basel will be missing several players, however, with Mikhail Kavelashvili and Koji Nakata ineligible, and Murat Yakin, Scott Chipperfield, César Carignano and Alexandre Quennoz all injured.